Ever since the incorporation of the East Boroughs Council, it has been known as a camping council, having operated first Camp Cook and then Her-Co-Sli-Bra. But only in 1929 was a permanent camp established. At this time Mr. John F. Miller purchased and donated the present site of Camp Twin Echo which is situated in the heart of the Allegheny Mountains between the Chestnut and Laurel Ridges, nine miles north of Ligonier. It was comprised of nearly 150 acres and was surrounded by thousands of acres of deeply wooded territory.
During the first year, in 1929, Mr. F. C. Demmler and Mr. Miller were responsible for the remodeling of the old barn, a masterpiece of pioneering, into a modern administration building. The sleeping cabins were the contribution of various citizenry and organizations of the council. Mr. Henry Westinghouse erected the hospital/Ranger home. The service clubs financed the stone dining hall. John F. Miller erected the swimming pool and the Leader’s Lodge, the later in memory of his wife. In 1939, the Rotary clubs of the area constructed a new troop camping unit, and Mr. John M. Pfeil built the central hall for this unit. Wilkinsburg Kiwanis Club built a new cabin for the Indians. In 1940, Trafford Troop No. 52 built the nucleus for another unit.
Camping at Twin Echo meant hiking over the mountain trails, opportunities for scout advancement, and swimming in the beautiful, large outdoor pool with trained lifeguards always in attendance. Here too, one could further develop an interest in crafts, nature lore, radio, camp fires and Ceremonials, riding and athletics.
Camp Twin Echo has come to be one of the finest Scout camps in the country. It has grown from its original 150 acres to 450 acres of wooded mountainous land in 1972. Memorials to the camp’s pioneers include the Sara Louise Pauli Leader Lodge (dedicated to Mr. Miller’s wife), Pfiel Hall, Rotary, Kiwanis, Trafford. Demmler and Miller campsites. Ransford Lodge, Bloomgren Memorial, Lake Morgan, Woodward Memorial Room, Pfiel Cottage and the Vigil Honor Gateway.
Of special significance is the barn, the only building remaining of the original structures. The barn, with its hand hewn timbers and mitered joints, is a pioneering masterpiece. Throughout the years the barn has served as a dining hall, craft shop, administration building, trading post, and nature museum. Today, the barn contains a fully equipped Camp Room and modern maintenance workshops.
In 1957 a new water supply provided us with a 100,000 gallon storage tank and in 1960 the long-range development program was completed with the construction of the year-round multi-purpose administration building and training Center.
And so, at the end of each day, as excited Scouts stare into the glowing embers of their campfire, one may see in the glimmering shadows, Chief Great Heart (John Miller), a man with a dream. We relive that dream each day as the rising sun awakens us to new adventures at Camp Twin Echo.
Since this time, Twin Echo has evolved into a training facility. Twin Echo also serves family, troop and district camping activities. Although not used for Summer camp, it is still used for a myriad of different Scouting activities by Laurel Highlands Council (formerly Greater Pittsburgh Council)..
Camp Twin Echo has had two staff reunions, one in 1995 and the other on the 70th anniversary in 1998.